I enjoyed Tom Fletcher’s column on the hysterical reactions to any chemical use (“Premier bitten by pest problem,” May 22, The Leader).
With regard to Roundup, this compound is a very specific inhibitor of an enzyme unique to photosynthesis. Therefore it affects only photosynthesizing organisms, typically green plants.
It has even gone through phase one clinical trials (which test safety for humans) because there was some idea that it might help with arthritis. No such luck.
In other words, you could drink the stuff with no ill effect.
When Oak Bay council proposed banning all “pesticides” including Roundup, I wrote them pointing out these facts. To no avail; they just went along with the herd, and copied the type of ban that Saanich has.
Well, keep up the good work of speaking truth to ignorance. It might eventually help.
Neil Madsen, Oak Bay
Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, University of Alberta
Harmful consequences take time
The editorial on cosmetic pesticides written by Tom Fletcher skates around the body of medical and scientific evidence linking these toxins to such illnesses as childhood leukemia and Parkinson’s disease. In his words, the “right thing to do” is to do nothing about cosmetic pesticides.
I imagine if he were living in the ’60s, he would be arguing that the Vietnam War was the right thing to do, or in the ’70s that concern over the nuclear arms race was merely “political.”
The problem with cosmetic pesticides, like DDT or cigarettes, is that there is no smoking gun. It is going to take time to convince some people that pouring poison on their lawn could harm their children.
In the case of Mr. Fletcher, I think it will take a lifetime. I pity his children.